Monday, 1 January 2018

Windhoek

I landed in Windhoek on Friday 29 Dec and leave tomorrow.  I'm staying at the delightful Rivendell Hostel  which is secure and small.  It is easy to self cater and I have a single ensuite room which suits me fine.
20171229 Rivendell  12.39.40
I have a friend here, Sari, who I met in July and I've visited her and her family twice since then.  We kept in touch and it was her idea that I holiday in Namibia.  I couldn't stay with her but that suited me fine as I'm near enough the city to be able to come and go during daylight hours.  However Sari not only scooped me up Friday night for supper with their family, but Saturday and Sunday too which is beyond the call of duty!

Windhoek

On Saturday I took a short walking tour around the city centre. On it too were a German couple, two Finnish women and myself. I learnt more about the history of Namibia and new facts such as its close links to North Korea due to its uranium deposits.

We started in Zoo Park which used to hold animals but is now only a landscaped water park, without the water. There is also a German war memorial but, as you can imagine, the Germans don't fare too well in the telling of the recent (last 100 years or so) of Namibia history. [I noted the Germans didn't give our guide a tip].  We then strolled up to the Lutherian Church, the oldest in Namibia.
20171230 Windhoek tour 07.51.46
20171230 Windhoek tour 08.28.10
We headed up to the Parliament and learnt that over 40% of Namibian parlimentarians are female. Our guide (male) kept telling us that was because women are more intelligent but I think he was only sucking up to the women to get a greater tip.
20171230 Windhoek tour 08.20.11
Parliament Gardens.
20171230 Windhoek tour 08.19.42
We walked to the Namibian Independence Museum which I left to visit on Sunday.
20171230 Windhoek tour 08.27.32
Memorial highlighting the struggle for independence from the South Africans.
20171230 Windhoek tour 08.46.10
20171230 Windhoek tour 08.39.10

I am getting used to Namibia again.  Used to when people knock foodstuffs onto the floor in a supermarket they don't think about picking it up but move off.  People who leave some of their food by the till as they realise they don't want it/can't afford it. People who just put the shopping basket down on the floor and walk off, rather than finding the stack of others.

I'm also getting used to oddities such as the Tourist Information being closed at the weekends (if anything the opposite to the UK) and quite a few cafes here are closed for the summer.  The museum, which was due to close at 1300 on Sunday, closed at 1030 (lack of customers?) just as I turned up.  What can you do?

As a solo female traveller I know I stick out.  As Watze, Sari's husband pointed out, I stand out like a tourist a mile off.  It's not necessarily because I'm white, but because of the way I walk: I stop and look, ponder, linger past tourist shops - not what locals do - and that makes me a target.  I had my first taste on Friday.  I was walking past a group of guys when I felt my rucksack being tugged at.  I span around and he put both his hands in the air showing me they were empty.  "What are you doing?" I shouted. Someone stopped their car to see if I was OK.  Yes I was fine as I never leave my important stuff easily accessible, esp when I'm abroad.  He had unzipped a pocket that had my business cards and railcard in (that would have been a tad annoying if it had gone) but my keys, camera and wallet are always buried right down inside my main rucksack compartment.  I also never take all my cash or cards or, indeed passport, out with me, only what I need for that day.  It could happen to anyone.

Sari's Family

On Friday I went to Sari's house just as my niggling cough started to turn into something grown up and throaty. It didn't stop me from hopping in the pool with the rest of the family which was refreshing in the whacking heat of the afternoon.
20171229 Hepkemas 21.09.06
20171229 Hepkemas 21.09.11
Tess had an ex-ball that she would nudge into the pool and you would throw it back for her to fetch. Repeat. Endlessly.
20171229 Hepkemas 21.09.16
It was also the evening that their youngest had a tick on her back. You suffocate it with vaseline and it eventually drops off. I can imagine many 7 year olds would freak having one of those on their back for a couple of hours.
20171229 Hepkemas 19.09.01
Saturday saw us make pizzas.
20171230 Hepkemas 19.01.40 20171230 Hepkemas 19.02.14
We also had to chase Sari's escapee chicken back into the pen and other random fun moments.

Sunday, New Year's Eve, was another pleasant evening there. I was still coughing my chesty cough, which had been keeping me from sleeping, and my 10+ mossies bites were irritating me. These are two specimens on my ankle.  Sari stuffed me with vitamin C and antihistamine.
20171231 Hepkemas 17.50.40
I hopped back in the pool briefly then played games with the kids. Sari thought it amusing how, from being a bit poorly and sick when I arrived, I totally perked up when presented with a pack of cards. Who wouldn't?
20171231 NYE at Hepkemas

2018

And so, today, in New Year's Day, we start 365 days of 2018 and I'm sitting on the stoep keeping out of the sun and reading. I cannot easily leave the hostel today as nothing is open and I have no transport. The other couples here have hire cars/ are on tours but hey ho: no harm in reading (for me).  Tomorrow will be busier with travel (I hope my bites have subsided) and I'll be moving to cooler climes.
20180101 At Hostel 13.51.33

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